Benetton Backs Away From Smart Tags In Clothing Line

from the that-didn't-last-long dept

Benetton got a lot of attention last month for announcing plans to incorporate RFID “smart tags” to help them better manage inventory. Today, however, they seem to be backing off those plans, saying that they’re analyzing the idea, but

none of their clothes use the technology, and they’re still not sure if any ever will. It’s unclear if they’re backing down because people made a stink about privacy issues, or if the original announcement was overhyped well out of proportion with the nature of the deal (using the chips for “tests”, rather than in an actual product).

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Comments on “Benetton Backs Away From Smart Tags In Clothing Line”

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dorpus says:

Maybe it's the sense of touch?

Shirts are annoying enough with the nylon labels rubbing the backs of our necks. Unless the RFID chip can be made very small or very flexible, it will annoy users. And given the clientele of upscale women, maybe there were concerns that the chip could somehow be used for voyeurism?

Michaela Stephens says:

Re: Sense of touch + cost of embedding process

Very true, the nylon labels rubbing the back of our necks may feel nice compared to a microchip rubbing the back of our necks.
The additional issue of cost is also related to this. (As background, the scratchy nylon tags are a result of a cost-reducing process of attaching a tag on the shirt in the first place. This process usually involves placing a hot iron against the tag while it is held in place so that the tag will melt to the shirt. Also, this process is very quick, so that mass-production is not hindered.) Clothing manufacturers would have to figure out a cheap fast way of bonding the chip onto the tag and bonding the tag onto the shirt. Obviously a hot iron would be bad for the chip package.
If they back-pedal and decide not to use the chips after all, it would probably be because they would have done the math and found that it would cost more to attach the chips to tags than it would to have clothes stolen occasionally.

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